Engineers’ Choice: What We Love

February 11, 2016 at 8:00 AM


With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we decided to get a little more intimate with some of our favorite people – our engineers . We wanted to know what makes them feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So we asked them, “What topic, technology or trend do you love?” The resounding – and unanimous – answer:  the 3-D Printer


What do they love about this innovation? Let us count the ways:


1.       It’s a technological marvel.


The 3-D printer gives our engineers the ability to take a design directly from their computer screen and make it into a physical object that they can hold, manipulate and test. This allows them to find flaws and make modifications much earlier in the design process and eliminates waiting for a tool to be created to make the part.  All of this saves time, money and resources and ultimately produces a better part.


2.       They get to make some really cool things.


While designing a connector that required many components to be assembled together, the 3-D printer proved its worth ten-fold.  Instead of having to print each component separately and then assemble the pieces, our engineers were able to print the connector as one part.


The 3-D printer printed solid material in certain places and left gaps where needed. This created a single part that mimicked how the assembled parts would look and function, without having to actually create and assemble all of the individual pieces.


3.       Weeding out bad ideas.


Though there have been a few unsuccessful trials, many times the least successful projects simply come from bad ideas. This is the exact reason that the 3-D printer is such a useful tool!  It eliminates the time and money spent to create tooling for something that ultimately won’t work anyway.


4.       It provides unprecedented customer feedback.


Presenting customers with a physical prototype of an idea gives us the opportunity to use their feedback like never before. Customers can inspect the physical design of the product, provide their input and even test fit the prototype in their application.  This gives us the advantage of directly integrating customer perspective early into the design process, which is a win-win for everyone involved.


5.       Breakthrough design and creation.


Our engineers are currently designing a product that requires the user to assemble it onto an existing product in the field. Using the the 3-D printer, they have been able to design prototypes and distribute them to colleagues to test the assembly process, recognize flaws, gain additional viewpoints and make improvements before finalizing the design. All of this ensures that the final product will meet the product requirements without wasting valuable time, money and resources.


The 3-D printer has elevated the design and engineering process by creating an actual, physical part to test for form, fit and function. This ground-breaking technology is invaluable in the amount of savings and insight it provides. It is no wonder why the 3-D printer is the object of our engineers’ affection.


For more information, check out our blog post 8 Reasons Why a 3-D Printer Can Make Your Job Easier.


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